Subject: A week in Umbria in June 2004
Hello Ziners,

This is my travelogue about our trip from Germany to Umbria in June.

We started heading south by car passing the alps at St. Gotthard pass in Switzerland. We always skip the tunnel and prefer the pass because it offers beautiful views and makes us touch the snow before entering hot Italy...

Our first stop led us to Pavia. We went to see the famous Certosa di Pavia and some of the city center. We ate very well in a small Pizzeria and were delighted by the great taste as well as by the good prices. Sorry, but I don't remember the name of it. BTW, they recommended the Pizza without cheese and brought some olive oil instead, we found that to be a good alternative if you use little of it.

We stayed overnight in Hotel Moderno, it was clean and OK, the air condition helped us to fall asleep, the weather was already quite hot.

Next morning we took the motorway down to Genova and followed the Ligurian coast down to Pisa. This spectacular street doesn't permit a high average travel speeed, but offers breathtaking views and is a great road. We admired the Italian road building capabilities!

In Pisa we stopped just to see the Piazza dei Miracoli. What a wonderful square but how many tourists! We left Pisa in a hurry and stopped in Lucca for a few hours. Delighted by Lucca's great monuments and very intact old city structure we had our only bad meal, before we headed for our final destination that week: Assisi in Umbria. What a surprise when we had driven around Assisi and left the city through the last city portal, we found ourselves in a green mountainuous environment, just like St. Francis must have seen it 800 years ago!

We arrived at our apartment in Brigolante a place that has been recommended by other Ziners in the past already. After a warm and friendly welcome by our host, Mrs. Rebecca Winke-Bagnoli, we entered our very beautiful and spotless little apartment. This wonderful place is a true gem. We had our own little house for ourselves, built with stones from the same place, built in the traditional Umbrian style, but equipped, of course, with modern technic in bath and kitchen. At Brigolante we found many sympathic and useful little details we had not found in other apartments which we had rented before: fresh olive oil and eggs from the farm, vegetables and herbs from a special green house for the guests (!), honey, marmelade, a bottle of wine. At night we could sometimes taste home-made pasta, bread or liqueurs.

The windows of our apartment were protected by mosquito grids, so we could leave our windows open without being annoyed by flies and mosquitos. Every evening it was great to return from the heat to the freshness of our little house at 500 m above sea level where cool winds from the Apennine gave us comfort and made us sleep fantastically in the naturally quiet environment!

From Brigolante we went to see the cities of Gubbio, Perugia, Spello, Bevagna, Deruta, Montefalco, Spoleto, Norcia and Castelluccio in the Gran Pianura.

Umbrian specialties are "Torta al testo" (thin bread filled with different things, a dish deriving from Etruscan times), truffles, pork sausages and ham

We had great meals including the above mentioned specialties at these restaurants:

Assisi: Pallotta (at the central place, try the antipasti); a great wine we at La Pallotta had was the "Montefalco rosso riserva 1999" by Arnaldo Caprai at a reasonable price

Gubbio Mengara: Il panaro (at the S.S.298 street from Gubbio to Perugia, about 10 km outside Gubbio, looks from the outside like a bar; try the degustazione di torta al testo)

Spoleto: Tric Trac (at the Piazza duomo)

In Norcia we bought some truffles. Too expensive? Not at all! For 6 EUR you get one truffle which is big enough for two persons to make a meal (pasta or scrambled eggs) become an extraordinary meal.

In Norcia at Ansuini in Via Anicia 105 we got wonderful ham and salami

Rebecca gave us valuable shopping hints for Assisi and surroundings which were a great help to find the best value for our money (and palates!)

We were very sorry when we had to leave! Driving home 1,500 km are too much for us, therefore we decided to stop overnight in Ravenna. At Ravenna we followed a recent recommendation of one of our Ziners and stayed at Hotel Sant Andrea, a very nice hotel.

We had a great meal at "L' oste Bacco" in Via Salara, 20 with "degustazione di crostini" and a very good "frittata mista di mare". As usual we ordered one antipasto for the two of us, otherwise it would have been too much...

We are looking forward to return to beautiful Umbria soon...

Kind Regards, Johannes Haltern am See, Germany

Mod's note from Linda: This is my opportunity to introduce all our new members to our webmaster. Johannes is responsible for the incredible Mirror Archive, which Ziners can use when researching their trips. Johannes, I know Ziners join me in thanking you for all the work you volunteer to do for us.